This issue was reported by other users back in June. According to the Path panel's developer Aaron Beall, the problem is that clicking on a SWF-based panel gives it keyboard focus. He released an update to the Path panel to fix this:
You're right about the Special Characters panel. That may be another manifestation of the same issue, and could be worth a bug report to Adobe, particularly if there are any other affected panels.
Incidentally, to resize a rectangle, you know that you can just use the Pointer tool, without ungrouping first, right? I think that's what makes rectangles special—and why they need to be ungrouped before editing the individual points—because they can be resized directly using the Pointer tool, unlike other vector objects.
BTW, there is one downside to the updated Path panel (v. 5.1.33): It reintroduces a nasty Undo bug that existed in the CS5 version but was absent from the initial CS6 release. The problem is, using the Undo command after a Path panel operation removes a previous, unrelated item from History and the canvas. For example:
- Draw two ellipses.
- Draw a rectangle.
- Select the two ellipses and apply a Combine Paths operation.
- Undo (Command-Z).
- The rectangle disappears!
I've let Aaron know about this issue, but apparently it's Mac-only and he develops and tests on Windows, so it's difficult for him to verify and to fix. However, if it's something you notice as well, you might drop him a line to let him know it's a problem—which might spur him to attempt a fix. (I do think it's great how rapidly he released an update for the "keyboard focus" problem.)
Speaking of the Special Characters panel, you may also notice that Aaron has a Glyphs panel that offers some advanced functionality along the same lines. As you probably know, the Mac OS has a really powerful Character Viewer that allows one to browse, search for, and insert less-than-usual characters and symbols into text. The only problem seems to be that Fireworks doesn't receive the font information from the Mac's Character Viewer, which often leads to a "missing character" icon appearing on the canvas (which must then be fixed manually by selecting the specific font containing the character from the Fireworks font menu). Aaron's Glyphs panel sidesteps this issue by showing character sets within a specific font, as well as by receiving and sending font information with Fireworks. I haven't actually tried it firsthand, but it looks pretty cool in the demo video.
FOLLOW-UP: Actually, I just realized that the Undo bug afflicting the updated Path panel can be reversed via the History panel. In this case, the Undo command seems to go back two steps in history instead of one, and as long as the user doesn't perform another step first, he/she can slide History forward one step to restore the missing item. It's still a pretty aggressive little bug, but at least there's some way to deal with it, as long the user remains alert to the problem.